Due to unfortunate circumstances, our pastor and his wife have had to be away. Our hearts helplessly ache for them in their grief. His father had an accident, a fall, a blow to the head, and then came the end, swiftly and unexpectedly. Of course, death never arrives conveniently, either.
The man was a devout believer, a pastor who surely affected his son's choice of vocation. There is joy in heaven, and joy in the Lord, and peace in knowing that earthly good-byes between believers are never forever. Still, shocks hurt and separation brings sadness.
As our pastor's family has traveled to the deathbed, and then to the funeral, and now to yet another state to be with a son who had surgery, we pray and hope.
We have had substitute preachers at church, and a substitute piano player. The substitute piano player plays hymns, only hymns, and we sing out of the hymnal.
Can I just say that I love hymns, and hymnals, and being able to read and sing the alto line? Because I do. I like some more modern songs, too, and songs from every age have spoken to me and comforted me in times of need. Today, in the absence of other things that are "normal," hymns were a very real comfort. The sturdy hymnal in my hands, the music staff surrounding the words, a line of music I could sing without straining, all this was a comfort.
This morning we sang, "This is my Father's World," one of my favorites. The last verse is so full of hope, yet it tends to make my eyes sting.
This is my Father's world,
O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world;
The battle is not done;
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and heaven be one.
To clarify: the battle is not quite finished, but the victory is sure.
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57 (NIV)
...creation itself will be liberated
from its bondage to decay
and brought into the freedom and glory
of the children of God.
from Romans 8:21 (NIV)
I am thankful that this is my Father's world. The victory is sure. He will redeem heaven and earth, and in that day we will reign with Him in glory.